Here’s a revelation for you: businesses suffer when their owners and/or managers make poor decisions.

Obvious, isn’t it? But I see situations often wherein decisions are made without regard to their short- and long-term ramifications.

For example, are all of your people the right people for the functions they perform? A person’s “fit” isn’t always the result of training or education, or even experience. The phrase “square peg in a round hole” wasn’t coined for nothing. The best example is usually the promotion of a long-term employee to a supervisory position who has neither the disposition nor the personality needed to direct personnel, or deal with customers or vendors. They may have the best grasp of the function that they have been put in charge of, but can they make it work if they’re not prepared to “drive”? Qualifications aside, maybe they lack organizational skills, “people” skills, or even loyalty to the organization. Believe it or not, many long-term employees lack the latter.

The best time to think about this is now. Each and every function in your organization should have a succession- planning blueprint and a plan in place. In games like pool and checkers, you make each move or shot with thought given to the next one, don’t you? You need to do this in your business, too. If you know what you’re going to do before these situations arise, you’ll normally have better people in place everywhere.

If Ed is edging toward retirement, now is the time to pick and begin grooming his successor, not the day after you’ve handed over the gold watch. Or, “If something were to happen to Mary, is Bonnie ready to replace her? And who could replace Bonnie?”

But what if you’ve already got the wrong person in the wrong position? You’ve got to fix it. It costs you money and time, and the staff around and under that misfit are probably miserable, and underperforming, which means that they’re possibly looking to escape, and you’ll need to replace them and start over with orientation, training, and education, and all because you or someone in your organization made a bad decision.

Admittedly, “bad” decisions can be made on purpose. Things happen; people die, families break apart, illness can appear suddenly. These things demand action, so, if you don’t already have a plan in place, you just might have to jam that square peg in to the round hole. Just don’t leave it there.

If you do, you just might be shooting yourself in the foot…

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